Spirit In The Car
With the car cd player now working, today's seaside/coffee sojourn was made to the masterful vocal of Tom Jones. Ridiculed here in there in the press for his name-dropping on The Voice, this vocal kicks those snide asides into trivia's touch, let alone the fact that Jones has every right to recall the musically grand company he has kept and now, at nearly 72, continues to be all by himself - but supported here on this album by a cast-list of well-known if eclectic songwriters.
The beauty of this album, as with his recent gospel Praise & Blame, is how it is pared down to the prominance of that voice. There is a noticeable rasp, but this is indelibly characteristic of the whole, and evident because on these tracks he isn't belting it out a la Delilah. Opener Tower of Song by Leonard Cohen could be an anthem written for Jones - born with a gift of a golden voice - and it sets a perfect scene for the absorbing vista to follow. There's Paul Simon's Love and Blessings and Tom Waits' Bad as Me, both familar numbers easily appropriated by Jones in the distinct moment of his delivery. Richard Thompson's Dimming of the Day is also lifted out of its angst to receive a new if gentle gravitas. The album ends with The Low Anthem's Charlie Darwin, beautifully accompanied by the vocal ensemble Stile Antico, the most pronounced production addition on the whole album.